In 2011, California had the second-highest number of uninsured children in the U.S., according to a report by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families, WUSF's "Health News Florida" reports (Gentry, "Health News Florida," WUSF, 10/23).
The report found that about 745,000 children living in California, or about 8%, did not have health insurance in 2011. According to the report, only Texas had a higher number of uninsured children at 916,000.
The report found that California ranked 35th in percentage of uninsured children, below the national average of 7.5%.
However, the state had the 12th highest decline -- 1.5% -- in uninsured children between 2009 and 2011, according to the report.
Reactions to Study
Peter Manzo -- president and CEO at United Ways of California -- said that the state has been "moving in the right direction thanks to the strength of the Healthy Families and Medi-Cal programs." Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program and Healthy Families is the state's Children's Health Insurance Program.
Suzie Shupe -- executive director at California Coverage & Health Initiatives -- said, "California's commitment to coverage, including strong home-grown programs and the state's leadership on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, has put us on the right track," adding, "The challenge ahead of us is to ensure that we don't lose any of the notable gains we've made and to remain focused on reducing the number of uninsured children so that we get closer to or below the national average."
Joan Alker -- co-executive director at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families research center -- said, "[C]hildren still have a long way to go to reach the same coverage level enjoyed by older Americans," adding, "About 92% of children have health care coverage in California, while the success of [Medicare] ... has brought the insured rate for seniors up to 98%" (United Ways of California release, 10/23).